Fruit and vegetables have time and again been prescribed by doctors and dietitians as the best prevention and sometimes even cure for different ailments and health conditions.
Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is a strategy in prevention.
There is convincing evidence that increased fruit and vegetable consumption reduces rates of CVD (cardiovascular diseases), stroke and some cancers.
Fruit and vegetable consumption also plays an important role in decreasing the energy density or caloric value of diets and thus plays a role in maintaining a healthy body and preventing obesity.
It is important that diets become less energy dense and at the same time dietary quality is maintained.
Increased fruit and vegetable consumption, like physical activity, reduces the vulnerability of acquiring cardiovascular diseases.
Evidence indicates that fruit and vegetables help reduce cancer risk on their own, and as low-energy-dense foods, they help maintain a healthy weight, which itself has a big influence on cancer risk.
Atherosclerosis, the underlying pathology of CVD, silently starts evolving when an individual is as young as ten and potentially produces a serious clinical event by the age of 50 or 60.
Thus, primary prevention must be built on a foundation of healthy dietary habits and lifestyle during early childhood.
Epidemiological studies indicate an inverse relationship between the consumption of fruits and vegetables, rich in polyphenolic compounds, and cardiovascular disease.
These findings offer an explanation for the ‘French Paradox’; the paradoxical observation that the French have a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease than Americans, despite having similar cardiac risk factors.
The French consume red wine, a rich source of grape polyphenolics, with their meals. Red wine polyphenolics have been shown to lower cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic animals, and to improve endothelial function, attenuate platelet activity, and protect LDL (low density lipoprotein), which is a ‘bad fat’.
The beneficial effects of red wine have recently been reviewed. Similarly, purple grape juice, another rich source of grape polyphenolics, has also been shown to lower cholesterol in animals, and to improve endothelial function, attenuate platelet activity, and protect LDL from oxidation in humans.
A lot of caution therefore should be taken we go to the market to buy fruits.
You should remember that you can eat as much fruit and vegetables as you like because they have a lot of fibre which is good for the digestive system and in reducing the effects of heavy caloric foods.
Try to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.